A few weeks ago Debbie and I were at a friend's house. I have deep admiration for this friend and her family for their purity, goodness, and faith. Anyway, this friend recounted how just a few days ago two of her daughters encountered an angel in their basement. I can't remember the story in enough detail to retell it and give it justice, but it involved a bright light (bright enough that the young daughter thought the light was on in the basement) and the other daughter having the angel's hands resting on her shoulders (she thought it was her mother, at first). The mother and daughters were all very happy that an angel had visited their house.
I was skeptical, of course, but thought "what reason would she have to make this up?" And then my self-centered side of me thought, "why don't I see angels?" And my question was answered by my aforementioned skepticism--angels visit children because they believe. Which is why Jesus tells us to be like them.
Some days I am so filled with such anger and anxiety that it is no wonder why the angels stay away from me--I give them no room to exist. It reminds me of the story of St. Macarios and the angel:
"St. Macarios of the desert in walking one day, he sees someone and perceives that he is seeing an angel and as he draws near the angel says to him that he is not a man, but an angel. He says that in fact he is this man's guardian angel and points to a house. This angel had been weeping because this man was inside this house committing adultery and that he could not go into the house to protect the man because the stench is too strong."
St. John Cliamcus wrote:
“Are the guardian angels standing by us, or are they still at a great distance? For until they come close to us, our efforts are vain and futile. Our prayer has neither the power of access nor the wings of purity to reach the Lord, unless our angels draw near to us and take it and bring it to the Lord."
Which begs the question: how do you get an angel to stand close to you? Don't sin; they can't stand the stench. Be like a child. Be humble, and penitent. And believe. Remember: we can lose grace, can fall out of favor with God. Having an angel near you to deliver prayers to God is like having an hookup for a job--your resume might not make it on its own, but if an insider hand delivers it, you might be given a better chance to get an interview. And God knows we could all use more hook-ups these days. So keep your angels close.